A couple of weeks ago I published a few tasting notes of white wines under the premise that despite the cold weather, one should not eliminate white wines from consumption
Well, even though I firmly believe that, I am also a realist (at times) and realize that much more red wine is consumed this time of year. Here in Philadelphia, it is dark long before dinner is ready and it is nice to have a glass in hand when preparing the family meal. To that end, here are a few wines that I have been sampling that will warm up even the coldest evenings:
2011 Andegavia Ruthven Red Blend Napa Valley: Retail $15 for the 375 bottle/$75 for 3-liter cask. 97% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Merlot & 1% Petit Verdot. Andegavia focuses on box or what they call “cask” wines, but has this half bottle available just in case you want to try the wine first before going “all-in” with the three-liter (the equivalent of four 750ml bottles) cask. Well, after tasting this little bottle, I would not hesitate to go all-in. Dark fruit, with a hints of oak and green pepper on the nose. On the palate, the balance is surprising, and the fruit is profound, with a solid finish. The stigma against box wines is slowly eroding and Andegavia could be at the forefront of that effort. I was initially skeptical on many fronts, but all those doubts were erased. Although I tasted this from a half bottle, I was assured that the wine in the cask shows exactly the same. Nonetheless, I would like to try this from the cask to see how the wine would perform a week or two out. Why? This is Outstanding, and being able to have just a glass (or two) a night is very appealing. 90-92 Points.
2012 Cornerstone Cellars Pinot Noir Stepping Stone: Retail $30. Stelvin Closure. This was my first taste of the Stepping Stone Pinot, so I really did not know what to expect, but given my past experiences with Cornerstone, I was hopeful. On first sniff, some moderately ripe red fruit and a hint of earth. On the palate, a bit fruity as well, but very pleasant. As the bottle wore on, however, the wine developed more complexity—eventually resembling wines that are considerably more expensive. At $30 this is a bargain. Not many think of Pinot as a “Winter Red” but this certainly has the stuffing to fit the bill. Very Good to Outstanding. 88-90 Points.
2011 Eagle Glen Cabernet Sauvignon: Retail $25. 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot. As far as I could determine, this is the initial vintage of this wine and is clearly a solid first effort. A bit of green and white pepper and cassis on the nose. Initially a bit thin, but with some time, an increase in depth. A solid wine that might benefit from a little time. Made from Napa fruit and in a “classic” cabernet style (more food friendly than in your face fruit), this is a wine that would excel on the table with a hearty meal—perhaps a lamb stew or beef stroganoff. Very Good. 87-89 Points.
2012 Markham Cellar 1879 Blend Napa Valley: Retail $25. 36% Merlot, 21% Petite Sirah, 14% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Syrah, 9% Zinfandel, 8% Petit Verdot. A bit of a kitchen sink blend, very fruity both on the nose and on the palate. Dark red berries and a bit of mocha and vanilla. Fruit forward and initially a bit thin on the mid-palate, but with some time in the glass, more complexity snuggles in. Lingering finish. Very Good. 86-88 Points.
2013 Domaine Terlato & Chapoutier Shiraz – Viognier: Retail $20. 95% Shiraz, 5% Viognier. I have not had a ton of success with Aussie reds as I usually find them a bit too fruity, a bit to alcoholic, a bit too over the top. Although this wine was a bit up there in alcohol (14.5%—seems to be a common ABV, but that is a topic for another post), it did not strike me as out of balance. Sure, there was fruit, but it was in no way overwhelming. In fact, after a bit of air, this went from a pleasant quaff to a wine that could easily find its way onto our table. It started off as good, then climbed to Very Good, stopping just short of more. Very Good. 87-89 Points.